There's something magical and bizarre happening in the development of the African Diaspora. I don't think a lot of people see, nor understand, that the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa are becoming the epicenters of a new revolution in technology that’s quickly and dramatically changing the status quo of inequality and under-representation. My wife and I had the pleasure and honor to attend and participate in Tech Beach Retreat 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Tech Beach was founded by Kyle Maloney and Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, two entrepreneurs with a vision to connect and empower Caribbean entrepreneurs, engineers and executives across a range of backgrounds to explore and create solutions to improve country and citizen. The caliber of the attendees and participants has attracted the attention of major tech companies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Instagram and a number of VCs and financial service firms and government conglomerates.
Kirk-Anthony comments, “Tech Beach is modeled on a vision of the world we'd like to see, extremely diverse across race, geography and skill set and very open to collaboration. We believe the Caribbean is misunderstood and filled with untapped potential and we've invited the world to join us in creating a new ecosystem for business and innovation to unlock this stored potential in partnership with our people”
Ty Heath from LinkedIn, panelist on “The Changing Face of Digital Marketing” at Tech Beach 2018
These aren't little e-commerce sites or side businesses we are talking about. Caribbeans and young people all across the diaspora, today, are closing global multi-million dollar deals despite a continued cycle of limited access to traditional and alternative investments platform. Moreover, we are closing huge voids that dramatically improve the quality of lives of our countrymen and women. It's truly an inspiring and riveting experience to witness and now be a part of.
I'll have to admit, when I heard Kyle Maloney, co-founder of Tech Beach mention that 60 percent of 2017 retreat attendees are now collaborating or doing business with each other, I thought he was either grossly exaggerating or maybe he had an Appleton rum or two before hitting the stage. However, within 20 minutes of the first networking opportunity, not only was I introduced to the largest group of high caliber and shakers in the Caribbean, but the authentic passion and desire to want to better the diaspora led straight to conversations about entrepreneurial overlap, collaboration and how we, in the United States, need to actively seek our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, Latin America and in the roots of Africa herself. We became family.
Shaina Silva, Director of Corporate Innovation, RocketSpace
In my 10 years traveling throughout the U.S. to different conferences, I hardly learn anything new — and most presenters are white men and women. Tech Beach, is a stark difference, and is by far my favorite conference. The first day didn’t conclude until we felt like regional attendees, and conference hosts made us feel like family, graciously inviting us to their community and homes.
If you have a disruptive idea or business and are looking for an entrepreneurial catalyst, I highly recommend you to visit the Tech Beach website and see what others have to say about their experience. There’s something powerful happening in the Caribbean, and throughout the African diaspora. Kyle comments, “People who participate in Tech Beach quickly realize they're in a results-driven environment. We're not designed simply to tick a box or two but to build a whole new realm of tech and innovation in a part of the world that is often marginalized.”
There is a very lucid, mystical reason, our conferences like Afrotech, Ghana Tech Summit, etc. in the Caribbean and throughout the African Diaspora are the ones most sought after by people like last year's keynote speaker at Tech Beach, Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter, and this year’s distinguished guest, Jeff Pulver, founder of Vonage and vice chairman of Alchemist. Jeff comments, “There was magic in the air. Words, voices and more. Everyone was approachable. Ideas shared. Questions asked and answered. Tech Beach is a place where people can attend and be inspired and come back to and share their stories and encourage others to be person they know they are. To find the inner strength to follow and be their dreams and follow their own path.”
These tech luminaries clearly have proven on multiple occasions the gift of foresight; there is magic and an unseen trend emerging. Follow the #TechBeach hashtag and be sure to mark your calendars for December 5–7, 2019!